MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “self-happiness”

70,000 thoughts a day

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Experts estimate that we make around 70,000 thoughts a day. Most of them are obsessive-compulsive. And that incessant mental chatter steals our energy and drowns our focus. We’re pushed into creating scenarios about things that probably won’t even happen, interpretations that don’t stand, and events that aren’t true.

Yet, these are still thoughts that occupy our minds.

We have a tendency to gravitate towards the negative. If we hear ten positive things and one not-so-positive, we will automatically focus on the latter. Call it our innate instinct of survival, it’s what we feel threatens us and we need to act to fix it.

Perhaps the problem, however, is that we stick to how we think people should act. And that’s what makes us react so much to everything. Because we have in our head a whole list of actions that we are expecting others to make: to check up on us without any particular reason; to send a good morning text simply to show they’re thinking of us; to show up at our doorstep with a bowl of hot soup when we’re sick; to just sit with us when we’re not feeling well and all we want is some company to watch TV with. We long for things that others maybe don’t even think of: a goodnight call to make us feel loved before we end the day; attention when we’re upset; a smile when we’re frowning; the sharing of good news; a walk together to clear our minds. For us, we’re not asking for much. But nothing is obvious, and we shouldn’t expect others to act as we would. Perhaps that is the most difficult and troublesome thought of all: that we cannot expect others to behave in the way we would anticipate them to. We can’t compel people to change; they’ll do so if they truly want to.

We demand more of ourselves and oftentimes we force that upon others too.

We think too much and we perplex our minds with situations that sometimes don’t correspond to reality. But those thousands of thoughts soon take over our feelings. And that is the most dangerous of all. For we feel even when we sleep; when we spring awake from a nightmare, when we smile from the love we dream. We feel constantly. Some more than others. Not everyone can be as insensitive as not to realise when they’re causing trouble to others, or as empathetic that they carry the burden of others’ troubles. We need to find a balance. But the weight of our endless thoughts often hinder us from doing so.

We’re caught in an endless stream of thoughts that exasperates when we’re tired, stressed or worried. And this further adds to our exhaustion – both mental and physical. But like this article notes:

  • Just think how much energy and time you could have saved, if you could reduce the number of your thoughts.
  • Just think how much better focus you could possess, if thoughts did not bother you.
  • Just think how much inner peace, calmness and happiness you would have enjoyed, if there was a way to stop all these thoughts, which add nothing to your life.

Let me ask you, do you keep the engine of your car running after arriving at your destination? You certainly switch the engine off. So why not do so with your mind?

Some thoughts steal our peace, and in time, our lives too.

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A cheetah among dogs

We humans are curious creatures.

We like to talk about each other, but we have a vital need to feel acknowledged. More so by those we appreciate and love.

It makes us feel valued, it boosts our confidence, and gives us motivation.

But the thing is, in all these modern self-help and manifestation vibes going around, we’re taught to depend on no one other than yourself in knowing your own worth.

We’re supposed to know our own value. To not alter that despite what others think. Yet, we are unavoidably impacted by external opinions. Perhaps to a larger extent than we should.

It takes strength and great confidence to dispel the outer voices and go with whatever you think is appropriate and what makes you feel good with yourself.

You don’t always have to prove yourself.

Sometimes it is even insulting to have to demonstrate your worth (just look at that cheetah in the dog race).

So much more than you think

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Why do you allow yourself to enter this phase?

It’s like a lunar eclipse; you tolerate someone moving into your shadow and blocking your light.

Remember that empowerment seminar a year ago? You’re the source of your own strength. But also of your own weakness. And people will only treat you the way you allow them to.

You weren’t raised to become friable by some unknown person’s intents. You’re not meant to be crushed; it’s not who you are, and not what you’re destined for. Get that into your head.

So react. You’ve sulked long enough. Now rise up and recall your worth. You’re better than this. And you deserve so much more.

Don’t forget that.

Also part of Your Daily Word Prompt

Let’s go

©MCD

Let’s take the ferry. We’ll be on a different island in just a few minutes. It’s as simple as that.

All it requires is a decision.

But often that’s the hardest thing to take.

We’re too indecisive when it comes to the issues that contribute to a healthy mentality and lifestyle. We’re too caught up with a strict routine, daily pressure, and tight programmes.

But we tend to overthink the insignificant matters, those that result in a mental burnout, in a psychological exhaustion, and in an unjustifiable stress.

Take the boat and leave. Whenever you can. Let your mind wander. Allow your gaze to get lost along the waves, across the horizon, traveling with the wind.

And if you ever too far and need saving, there’s always a life vest somewhere near to rescue you.

Declutter

Psychologists say that we need our homes to be in order so our minds can follow suit.

Simply stating, we need to literally live in peace in order to find it.

It’s something you can easily notice: when your desk, living space, home is chaotic, more often than not so is your mind, and subsequently your entire psychological state of being. Disorganisation or disorder may cause increased levels of anxiety, stress, discomfort, confusion, and consequently lead to higher levels of irritation. We’re often upset and angry without really knowing why, but it all comes down to this: we need serenity around us. We need the minimum of things to clutter our space, we desire the order of our surroundings, the satisfaction that everything is ‘in place’, so that we can gain the encouragement and motivation to relax our own thoughts and find harmony within.

In short, we need to be able to literally view tranquility so we can begin to feel it.

The magic within

Isn’t it encouraging to consider that every minute of the day two people – seemingly strangers – are getting to know each other and are falling in love as their hands softly touch?

Do you really think that’s possible?

It’s nice to believe in something we can’t see. It’s refreshing to believe that magic still happens. We need that kind of optimism in our lives. That sort of positiveness is so lacking in this world we’ve created”.

They were sitting on a couch talking all night. Neither of them could sleep. It was those late night talks about random issues that brought them closer. It was those things you tell a person at your most vulnerable time that help you form a stronger bond with them. Those thoughts that spring to mind at the most awkward of hours; the concerns you have but haven’t even admitted to yourself; the debates you feel too silly to have with anyone else.

The magic happens when you least expect it. When you’re hardly prepared for it. When you’ve planned everything but that. When you truly are yourself, without shame, prejudices or fear of what others will think of you.

When you let yourself go and are proud of who you are, the magic will happen.

Because you’ve been carrying it within you all along.

You just haven’t realised it yet.

Emerging from the shadows

People fear a lot of things. But one intrinsic fear that may be common to all is the fear of being forgotten. We all want to make an impact, to leave a footprint in this world, to be remembered as having lived here.

We live in a world where everyone is trying to be famous, for anything no matter how futile and for however short-lived the duration may be.

In an era where everything can be broadcast and gone viral in a matter of seconds, the millennial generation is one addicted to attention. Everyone wants to be branded even though they’re not good at anything. We need the spotlight to satisfy our internal shortcomings.

The truth is, we need recognition and the broader social acceptance to displace the negative voices we alone create in our heads; to feed our own self-appreciation, self-acceptance and value. An old Japanese Samurai proverb says, “don’t speak bad of yourself. For the warrior within hears your words and is lessened by them”. Our need to receive recognition from others is ultimately founded by our need to prove our own value, firstly to ourselves. It’s always easier to complain, judge and condemn than to lift each other up. This is the culture we’ve created. But what everyone is truly seeking, is to enhance our own value. We depend on the recognition of others, because we’ve associated this feeling with that of our own self-worth and satisfaction.

Yet at the same time as searching for acknowledgement, we withhold from even asking for it. We suppress our wants out of fear of appearing egoistic, weak or needy. We hide in the shadows, but don’t want to be invisible. It’s a paradox of human nature. We desire to stand out from the crowd but refrain from making the effort to do so.

Those inclined and used to working backstage know first-hand the problems of not being appreciated or acknowledged for your work. Because in catchy songs, everyone praises the singer and never the songwriter; in wonderful books, hardly anyone ever remembers the writer, and when the novel becomes a movie, it is even associated with the actors that bring the plot to life, not the person who had the idea behind it all.

The difficulty of working in the shadows is that you never get recognized for your work and someone else always gets credit and is remembered for it. The problem in making others look good is that you never get to exhibit your true potential. It’s like you’re trying to leave your footprint but someone else always tramples on top of it and leaves their mark instead.  The world will thus never know your worth because you don’t speak up, because you’re the one who pushes others forth and remains behind the scenes, hoping to at least receive some form of acknowledgement and value.

Mother Theresa had said that “there is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread”, and it is a common fact that recognition is the best method of improving work motivation and employee engagement. It is essentially a driving force for life itself: for if you don’t show appreciation to those who deserve it, they’ll eventually learn to stop doing the things you appreciate.

Making habits that will make us

There is a widely acknowledged rule that it takes 21 days to create a habit and three times that – 90 days – for it to become a lifestyle.

It might sound a lot. But think about it. 21 days is three weeks. Three weeks is less than one month. In 2020 we’ve been in lockdown twice for this period of time. We could (have) easily chang(ed) habits.

The first thing any decent self-help book or life coach tells you is to think positively and control your breathing.

Both aren’t as easy as they seem. And it is irritating that people usually tell you the exact opposite of what you’re able to do at the given time you seek help – “calm down” when your agitated, “be patient” when you’re not, “don’t worry” when you’re sweating with anxiety.

But the truth is, if you manage to reduce your heart rate – if you inhale for four seconds, hold that breath for just as long, and then slowly exhale again – you will feel that you’ve oxygenated your lungs enough to relax and actually feel somewhat calmer.

Fix your body posture. That always helps and gives you a regal feeling. And everyone likes to feel royal.

Just think about how many things you can change in 21 days, and how easily those can become part of your daily routine.

Train yourself to get up early; to have a schedule for the day; to exercise at least half an hour; to walk as much; to smile more; to organise your priorities; to cook your meals assuring a healthy diet; to hydrate as much as possible; to take care of yourself; to do something you enjoy and makes you happy; to talk to someone (not online chats, but actual voice calls); to think positively believing that something wonderful is always about to happen; to allow yourself to relax every so often; to be grateful for all you have because someone else is always worse off and is having a much more difficult time; and above all, to breathe.

We can change our entire way of living in three weeks. But the benefits may last our entire lives. Isn’t that worth at least trying?

Staying afloat

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When you fall into a river you’re besieged with an innate instinct for survival and you search for ways to keep afloat and to get out. It’s natural. If you stop trying to swim, you’ll sink, and ultimately drown.

This is somewhat true in how you survive in your daily life as well. In the relationships you build and maintain. What holds you down is what makes you drown. And that can range from the negative thoughts in your head, your problems, your stress, the prejudices you carry around, even past traumatic experiences from failed relationships that have left a bitter aftertaste.

When you exit the river, you’re never the same person as the one who entered. Something has washed over you and infiltrated you even if you can’t see it. You’re changed by every experience you have, every person who walks in – and out – of your life. There is a lesson to be gained from everything. As long as we want to acknowledge it.

Seminars on self-help and self-growth are abundant. This was an excerpt from one of them. She was drawn into it because the metaphor was cunning. But, this was nothing new. Theories are so easy to develop. They’re easy to state, even to ourselves. Acting upon them is what is necessary and means something. And that is the hardest to do. Because accepting reality and that some things just happen, is the most difficult of all.

She would give herself completely in someone she felt was worthwhile. She would fall head over heels from the start. And perhaps that was her mistake. That she would put herself on offer willingly, without being asked. Her friend told her that this made the other person greedy, thus provoking his insatiable attitude. But she would do things because she wanted to and felt pleasure in doing them. Because happiness entails making others smile. Because we love the way we want to be loved. It’s the only way she knew.

But when things snapped in an instant for no rational reason, she was the one left heartbroken, wondering why others don’t treat her the same way she would. Why they wouldn’t run to surprise her and make things right. Why they wouldn’t even call to talk and solve the dispute that so abruptly and harshly erased their laughter.

They say “we accept the love we think we deserve”, but that’s not true. Because we don’t always attract what we want, but rather what we need at certain periods in time. We learn something out of every incident we face, regardless of how good or bad it is. We don’t always end up with what we crave. But sometimes we realise that maybe it’s for the best. Sometimes pain is meant to be felt, so we can appreciate serenity when it finally arrives.

Independent confinement

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Tom was frequently likened to a cat. Mainly because, whenever he could, he slept for most of the day.

He didn’t mind being compared to a clever feline. He rather saw it as a compliment.

Cats are perhaps the most independent pets around. They can take care of themselves and act as if you’re living in their house rather than the other way around. They are the beings for whom the problem during lockdown is that everyone else is staying home with them. But they can also teach you so many things on how to manage self-confinement. They know how to adopt a slower pace of life as the norm; to seek out the sunny spots in the house; take stretch breaks; stay curious and always discover new things making each day exciting; contact a human every so often; keep a tidy space and clean yourself often.

Cats are the embodiment that life is easier when you’re not too busy with what others are doing.

The problem with people like Tom is that they can’t be like cats for too long. Everything in life requires a measure, a balance to be complete. And even though it is healthy to spend time alone; to know how to be alone and not be defined by another person, happiness has greater value when it is shared.

And in order to be able to live fully, we need more people (or animals) in our life. People who share our concerns, and who will seek us out whenever we choose to disappear in the most incredible hideaways.

We will meet again soon. For the time being, choose to shine; it’ll soon become a habit.

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